2:10 Pontefract (19th June)

Pontefract
An EBF maiden fillies' stakes split into two divisions.

An open race.

Two form horses have shown an element of ability.

Nearly A Gift has run three times. Tim Easterby has his string in flying form but this filly seems to have her limitations. In ways, all of the races she has competed have been quite weak, certainly beyond the winners. Being wide drawn at Chester last times, and running wide for most of the way didn't do her any favours but more may be needed today. This extra furlong needs to bring further improvement and perhaps it is a reflection of a potentially weak race that this daughter of Tagula is relatively short priced in the betting. From a wide draw, I would look elsewhere.

Alan Berry has had a very quiet season. Without a winner for eighty-five runners doesn't inspire confidence although his two-year-olds are probably more likely than most to do something. Busy Bimbo shaped quite well as York last time over 5f and cost a fair sum at 30,000gns. Her breeding catches the eye, being a half-sister to the smart Look Busy. She should have enough pace to sit handy from a favourable draw and if this extra furlong brings a couple of lengths improvement she may well have a fighting chance. The York performance showed promise but may have fallen a fraction short of what is needed to win a race of this status. However, experience counts for a lots at Pontefract and if some of the debutantes are no more than average then she has each way claims.

This has the look of a race that could well go to a debutant. Tom Dascombe's two-year-olds should always be respected, especially if fancied in the betting. He features a respectable win rate with his juveniles priced 7/1 & less when making their racecourse bow. This stable is very much orientated from a betting point of view. You have only to listen to Dascombe talk as every other sentence refers to betting in one shape or form. Goal Hanger, a daughter of Exceed And Excel, was quite a cheap buy at £18,000. The key to this ones chance is the betting. If fancied, I would expect a big run.

Another trainer who features a fantastic first time out win rate is Richard Fahey. Eastern Destiny is definitely one for the short list and if priced 13/2 & less has fair win and place claims. A half-sister to Rosa Grace, this roan filly could well be the horse to beat.

Quiet Appeal is another to note for Mark Johnston. This filly by Cape Cross is fancied in the betting but a wide draw - being on the extreme outside - is far from a good starting point. Her breeding suggests that a more testing trip would be more fitting and although Johnston can find winning debutantes he can be very hit and miss. Taking everything into to consideration I would much rather watch and learn.

An outsider with a chance may be More Bottle trained by Tom Tate. This daughter of Barathea is another who would benefit from a greater trip in time. She was a cheap buy at 3,000gns. However, Tate is one of these intriguing trainers who often goes better with his speculative priced debutantes than those strongly fancied in the betting. It would be a bit of a punt, but at huge odds it wouldn't be the biggest surprise to see this juvenile owned by TT Racing run a fair race.

Conclusion: A tricky race. Busy Bimbo probably sets the level and if the unraced falter may well put a smile on Berry's face. From a low draw, experience, and an element of ability may give her each way claims.Goal Hanger and Eastern Destiny will most likely hold the aces. Both trainers know how to get a juvenile to win on debut and when fancied in the betting feature better win statistics than most of these trainers could ever hope to attain. Out of the two, Goal Hanger is interesting if price 7/1 & less. Of the outsiders, More Bottle may have each way claims.


HCE: ''An easy victory for Nearly A Gift. Whether she improved today or the opposition were very poor only time will tell - probably a little of both. Goal Hanger ran on for second but seemed very weak in the betting at the off suggesting connections didn't fancy their chances even though in their betting guide. Quiet Appeal ran on to take third. Busy Bimbo never seemed to be going.''

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